Christmas is just around the Corner…

Well this summer just flew by ! I can’t believe that fall is here and Halloween is just a couple of weeks away. We spent most of September in Italy which really made

Ikea storage ... got to love it.

Ikea storage … got to love it.

the summer last a little bit longer for us. Now am back in the studio… Saying that must admit when we arrived home I came down with a nasty cough which then turned into pneumonia. So for almost a month have been really sick & no voice. If you where trying to call me sorry I just couldn’t talk ! Now am feeling better although the voice still sounds like I should be a phone sex operator ! Being sick with no energy doesn’t make for a happy Deb.

This week finally got into the studio and worked although not for any period of time. I did do some of my own quilts as I needed to recharge and try to focus. I also did try and organize the studio a little bit more. Made a trip to Ikea for a couple of storage and organizational items. Reworked the studio and purged thanks to my friend Sharon whom is a personal organizer . She came in and helped me stay on track,  she will be running a fall special for quilters. If your quilting space needs to be reworked she’s the one I would call & I am more than happy to pass her number along.  On Monday the carpet company is coming in to clean the carpets so then my studio should be back to normal.

Christmas is just around the corner and it’s nice to have the house & studio clean and tidy. Plus I personally can’t work in a mess and when the studio looks like a fabric factory exploded not much creativity happens.

Yes we are getting ready for the holidays ! Today ordered some new rulers from www.cscountrystitchin.com . Dusty Farrell has some wonderful interesting rulers and I can hardly wait for them to arrive. Also placed a thread order so yes we have almost every color one can imagine in thread. And last but least we have batting , batting and more batting . If you are planning on doing any amount of quilting stop on by the studio and purchase a roll for an amazing price. We have Ten rolls that need a home ! Okay yes I over ordered to get an amazing price and thought we would pass those savings along .

Today I was online shopping ( personal & business)  and this made me stop and think… how many of us over spend during the holidays ? I know personally our family doesn’t . We try and keep things simple and plan for the holidays. We have themes each year to keep things simple. Last year it was games. We bought board games and puzzles. Christmas day we spent it with friends and family playing tic tac toe and operation and that night put a puzzle together. A few years ago we did a recycled Christmas. Okay I’ll explain that one… for example that year I gave my sister in law all the books I read that year. Yes I did buy them new but then recycled them and she received the books along with a coffee cup that someone gave me that I never used and I added a box of hot chocolate & placed them into a basket. That year thought went into a lot of our gifts. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you put thought into or the ones you made. This year our theme is handmade. So yeah I could make everyone a quilt but that’s not going to happen. Evil giggle.

Many years ago my husband and I decided to keep things simple stop over doing, over buying and over spending. Their are things I do spend money on such as a fruit center piece from Edible edibles . Well worth it as I don’t have to buy a ton of fruit then cut it up, saves me time. I don’t have to purchase a flower arrangement as the fruit is the center piece . We save time and money which is a win, win in my books. Also why do we think we have to bake and cook for days. Bake the items your family loves and then freeze it. This can be done in November , I have a baking day where my girlfriends come over and we bake all day. We enjoy each others company and later in the night the wine is opened. We spend time together and that in it’s self is a gift.

The holidays don’t need to be stressful or expensive if you take some time to plan things out. Now saying that if you have a quilt that needs quilting for a gift this is the time that you need to get it to your longarmer ! Just saying I have to be organized because there is always someone that brings me a quilt a week before the holidays and must have it done. Avoid the rush get your quilts in or schedule it on the calendar. We now have a new computer system that is going to keep me on schedule . Also if you want to quilt it yourself book a class then rent our machines .

Avoid the Christmas rush , avoid the Christmas stress and have a plan. My plan for today is finish this blog and work on some outstanding projects.

 

Deb.

 

Busy Summer … Time for a sale !

 

Wow where has this summer gone ? Next week we change our clocks which in my world means summer is winding down and fall is greeting us. We added a new member to the family. Meet Lola a little French bulldog my son fell in love with ! Puppy training do I need to say more. This summer we also did IMG_1899tons of work in our yard. We had our  Fence replaced , we had our sidewalks poured so when coming to the studio you can park at the side and walk up the sidewalk to the deck and use  the side door . This is such a nice change !  Now my clients can just walk straight into the house and head downstairs to the studio. All our gardens where done, new gazebo & new furniture added. Gas hooked up outside and brick work finished. We have been enjoying out outdoor living space.   On the plus side we are done for the year ( we ran out of money , evil giggle)  and one can start thinking about Christmas. Yes I said it ! Okay before I get ahead of myself think I will be taking a vacation first.

Yes the studio will be closed From Sept 9th until the 24th . We are heading to Italy ! This is a once in a life time trip for us we are going with my sister in law and her husband . We have been planning and saving for this trip for a couple of years and now it’s just around the corner. Someone asked me the other day if I was excited and well to be honest no . I have been in panic mode more than anything.

As a small business taking time off is hard for a number of reasons.

  • if your on vacation no money is coming in.
  • while you are away no work is being done meaning no funds.
  • doors closed no work coming in meaning no funds
  • people think your no longer in business

Now I had these same worries last year when I took our vacation and when I got back had tons of new stories and totally came back refreshed and ready to work. Running a small business you have worries that unless you have walked this path you just don’t understand the stresses. I couldn’t imagine if I had rent to pay on top of it. Both my husband and I run small businesses so it’s a balancing act to say the least.

Anyways we are going to have a great time , see lots and do tons. My Italian lessons I took this year should help.

Now since it’s my birthday September 1st I thought we should have a sale. Starting today until Sept 7th… Call or email & say Happy Birthday and get your savings.

Birthday Sale

  • Book a class save $25 dollars
  • Drop off a quilt save $25 dollars on anything bigger than a twin quilt.
  • Batting   buy a roll    cost $250 dollars 40 yards per roll.

I hope to get lots of birthday wishes & hope to be busy in October .

The last two weeks have been trying to finish at least one quilt every day sometimes it happens and sometimes I finish two. Okay I have had a ton of small baby quilts in the shop so that helps. Next week are all monster size quilts that are going to take days. But today it’s all baby quilts.

I just finished this quilt for a client and rather like the colors she did this in. Wish it was mine … Oh and start following us on instagram: @loopyd_quilting

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The business behind a quilt

One day I decided to make everyone in my family a quilt for Christmas ! Okay what was I thinking ? Well Fabric land had a $4 a meter sale on quilting fabric. Evil giggle off to the quilt store I went www.mysewingroom.ca to see about getting a pattern and maybe taking a class. Heck the last time I used a sewing machine was in high school and well let me tell you making an apron doesn’t count as sewing. Okay in my twenties I did make a dress that ended up looking like one was wearing a tent. Just saying I was never friends with my sewing machine.

Took some classes, which is another story. Fell in love , if you had asked me then if I would own my own studio I would have be rolling over in stitches with laughter.

Jump ahead a few years . Now I run my own quilting empire (evil giggle ) And on a weekly basis I get this question oh could you make me a queen size quilt and how much will it cost me ? When I tell them usually you can see it in their eyes they think your nuts and way to expensive.

Here’s the facts – Dedicated quilter spends $3,200 hundred dollars a year on quilting . They typically own $13,000 in tools & supplies and their fabric stash is worth around $6000 dollars. You can spend up to $13,000 on a name-brand sewing machine. Don’t get me started if you own a longarm machine ! And this is just the tip of the ice. Factor in classes, patterns, etc. you get the picture quilting is an expensive hobby.

Now here’s where our business gets funky. Can you make me a baby quilt ? Yes I can but it’s going to cost you $150 dollars and that’s not anything over the top. Am I crazy ? Okay Fabric cost on the average here in Canada anywhere from $10 to $16 a meter . Okay yes sales happen but I still have to restock and then might not hit a sale. So baby quilt uses 3 meters of fabric , now batting , oh thread can’t forget thread. Spool of thread in quilt shop $8 dollars. Your getting the picture? Right now that baby quilt has cost me say $65 dollars for materials. Now cutting , piecing, sewing then quilting & binding. Can you say this will take a complete day and that’s if its simple ! My day rate is $150 dollars , so add the materials and that baby quilt should be priced at $215 dollars. Are you seeing that my math is not adding up ! Plus where’s your profit margin ?  Evil giggle in other words not making a profit if I quote you $150 for that quilt , and that little voice in your head was saying I was nuts. Well my voice is saying are you stupid you run a business you need to make a profit !

You can go on Etsy and see quilts being sold for next to nothing or quilters offering to make quilts for next to nothing. They are doing this to use up their stash or to be able to purchase more fabric. Last week on facebook a quilter was bragging that she purchased a king size quilt top for $25 dollars. She got a wonderful quilt and her friend had some extra cash to purchase more fabric ! Are you joking $25 dollars will buy you 2 meters of fabric that king size quilt had at least 6 meters of fabric in it. Your smart do the math personally I would have paid my friend at least $100 dollars cause I would have felt I was stealing from her if I had paid her anything less. Still shaking my head at that one !

Back on track … squirrel…. Evil giggle.

More Detail, more time means more money ... But so worth it.

More Detail, more time means more money … But so worth it.

Custom job - 11 hours to complete from start to finish.

Custom job – 11 hours to complete from start to finish.

$50 dollar quilt. I didn't make but shows a simple quilt job.

$50 dollar quilt. I didn’t make but shows a simple quilt job.

 

 

 

Not all quilts that are for sale are the same quality of work for example here is the same panel done differently. You can guess which one I did?  The simple one (I didn’t do) could be sold for $50 dollars. A panel cost $12 , backing fabric $12 , batting $5  , $2 for thread yeah your going to make $19 dollars which breaks down to about $10 an hour for ones work. Really I could pour coffee at Tim Horton’s and make more $$$. The one I did (okay my friend Charmaine Walker pieced the pinwheels , I put it together ) took about five hours to piece and four hours to quilt and  two hours for binding. It’s a little bigger and more fabric, cost for materials $ 65 dollars. If I was to sell this it’s going for $250 . Both of these are charity quilts and will be donated to Inn From the Cold & High River Flood relief when I have finished using them as  class samples.  They are used to show how quilting can make or break your quilt.

The general public just doesn’t realize what the cost of materials to make a quilt or how long it takes. We need to educate.

Honestly every time one person undersells, it harms the other quilters out there that are doing quality work and are trying to make a living wage. We need to raise our prices to a living wage for everyone’s sake in this business. Don’t do a poorer job to save time and money. I had a conversation with a commissioned quilter and she just does an all over stipple or loops because her clients don’t know the difference. Guess you get what you pay for.

In my business I see people offering a penny sale to grow their business , but the reality is those people that come drop off their quilts for that sale never come back it doesn’t grow ones business. And then you have a ton of work to do and getting paid less than minimum wage. I did this only once and would never recommend it to anyone.

I see quilting as a skill , I’m asking for the payment due a skilled worker because that is what I think I am.

So if you are reading this and just think you are a crafter think again your skilled there is value in your skills. Don’t just sell your quilts for next to nothing or for fabric. And those that want to commission a quilt know my prices are fair . You can always purchase a quilt at Wal-Mart or Target  because they cost less but  know that some child or woman in a third world county is making that quilt is also struggling to make a  living wage and the fabric quality might not be the same. Buyer beware.

Okay thinking I need a coffee… how can you tell yesterday I had three calls asking about custom  work but wanting to pay me pennies.

 

Custom vs Edge to Edge

FlowersA new client came to the studio two weeks ago and dropped off this jewel of a quilt. She had never had a longarmer do work for her so she had no idea how her quilt would turn out. We discussed how and what she wanted and then she left her quilt. This is a trust issue, one has to trust although as a quilter ask questions , see the artist work . Do you like their work, do you feel safe leaving your baby in the hands of a total stranger.  What is their skill level ? If you want me to do a panto (edge to edge following a pattern) yeah that’s not going to happen. Now ask me to create a flower and add a little something different yep will happen. Yes sometimes custom takes longer because we are thinking about the quilt and what it needs. Sometimes we are scared to touch it , we want the best to showcase the piecers work. The quilting should enhance the quilt. A lot of thought and time goes into custom . This was a simple custom the client was charged 2.5 cents an inch. for the job. Did it need any more no. Some times a quilt just needs an edge to edge but other times  spend a little more and have the spaces filled to enhance your work.

The Client loved the quilting job so much she hugged me with such love. I know that what I did helped  her quilt go from nice to very nice.   I am so looking forward to seeing it hung at Heritage Park at the end of May. She and her quilting group each made this quilt and will be entering them as a group display. She said some of them have just been quilted edge to edge a couple have there’s at they longarmers so it should be interesting to see them all together .IMG_0933

Graffiti Quilting with Karlee Porter

KarleeKarlee Porter – Graffiti Quilting          For Tickets Call 403-669-9523

Lecture – Demo                                                                           May 2nd 2015

 Lunch & Trunk Show Event 

Karlee was exposed to an amazing culture of the ever changing scene of ephemeral graffiti in the back alleys of downtown Salt lake City. She would take countless pictures of all the amazing graffiti by the unknown artists. Then would fill pages of sketchbooks trying to be “street” She entered the quilting industry after graduating high School and never looked back. Her Graffiti style gives her quilts the wow factor. And she’s coming to share !  www.KarleePorter.com

Loopy D’s is proud to be offering this opportunity to come & learn and take your quilting to another level.  Plus see some amazing quilts.

Doesn’t matter what kind of machine you use it’s all about the quilting. For all skill levels, all you need is a pen & sketchbook !  Register today by calling Loopy D’s 403 – 669 – 9523

Graffiti Quilting                                                                        Cost          $50.00

May 2nd 2015         Two Class Times

Morning  Class       9 to noon

Afternoon Class    2 till five.

Lunch & Trunk Show                                                                Cost          $25.00

Come , learn, draw & enjoy a wonderful lunch in the beautiful rolling Alberta hills and see some amazing quilts. This event is taking place at The Bow Bench Retreat – Range Road 260, Carseland, AB

Karlee is looking forward to sharing.

Contact Deb at Loopy D’s  403 – 669-9523 to purchase your tickets   or email ddomin@telusplanet.net for more information.

 

For tickets call 403 – 669 – 9523

 

New Years Resolutions …

I woke up this morning and was surprised to see that today is the last day of the year ! Really I was totally surprised. Where did the year go ? Looking back it was a great year but as in every thing life has it’s highs and it’s lows. This year I traveled more than I have ever traveled, and will be doing more in the upcoming year. Lost some loved ones this year and was sad to see them go but happy that they where no longer suffering and now in a better place. Reconnected with family and friends okay there was also some disconnecting in there if I am being honest. Saw my business grow and change . The Year was to say the least normal .

Did I make a New Years Resolution last year I didn’t keep heck yes. Saying that, it’s okay cause you know what I tried !!! Did I try to lose weight yes did I lose it all no but I am down and in my world that’s a win. Did I have adventures and get out of my comfort zone yes . This year I Cliff dived &  zipped lined through the jungles of Mexico, this was major cause I did this totally on my own. And am a wee bit afraid of heights but still jumped . Traveled to another country where we didn’t speak the language ! When I got back to Canada started taking Italian lessons once a week because when we are in Italy next year I will be able to communicate.  As for my quilting resolutions yes made a couple of Resolutions such as get more organized, use up my stash , complete some projects, take more classes . You get the picture. Well the Studio is more organized but I am an organized freak so that’s a given. Purged and donated items that where no longer needed. Could the Studio be more organized yes it could but that’s a work in progress. Did I use up my stash ? Are you kidding there’s enough fabric in my stash to make at least 200 quilts. So failed on that one or did I … the studio turned out 32 charity quilts and that doesn’t include the ones we quilted for other charities. In total the ladies and I quilted 78 quilts  and 32 of them came out of the stash. Did I complete all my projects again no … did try and completed ten ,okay six of them where done this month . Evil laugh I did try although left it to the last minute. And yes took a couple of classes as you can always learn something. Also taught a couple of classes and here’s hoping my students took away some new knowledge.

My New Years Resolutions this year will be the following …

  • Kiss – Keep it Simple StupidIMG_9552
  • Try

As in life we tend to overcomplicate things , over do things, stress to much , eat to much (in my case not eat) oh the list could go on . My resolution for next year is Kiss. If we all kept our resolutions simple life becomes simpler. Try… don’t care what you try but try. If you don’t try something how do you know you don’t like it? Try a new language , try a new food, try making that special item. Try taking a class or two. Try reconnecting . Keep it Simple Stupid & try.

What am I going to try next year I don’t know but what ever it is you know I will put my whole heart into it and have fun . Those that know me will also be able to picture me laughing way to hard if I am scared, laughing when I am failing & laughing when winning.

So today when you are welcoming in the New Year remember this past year with all it’s ups and downs with a smile.  Don’t look at where you failed cause  you tried and that’s a win no matter how you look at it.

Hope you all have a wonderful night , and enjoy the rest of the year with the ones you love.

 

Make It & take it Thursdays.

Clock in back yardSo Christmas is just around the corner and we have been trying to think outside of the box regarding Christmas. Here at the studio we would like to do something for our clients & students that would help  get this holiday season started  with a bang.  Last week I was struggling with my confidence but really I know it was more like the stresses of normal life . I don’t tend to stress so this was something new for me. Christmas is a stressful time of year for a lot of people . Well it’s just around the corner. Are you stressing about the holidays ? If so I think you might like what we have coming up here at the studio.

Every Thursday from 10:00 am till 10:00 pm we will be hosting a make it & take it project, cost will be $25 dollars. This week the Thursday class will start at 1:00 pm as I am getting winter tires put on the truck & will be out of the studio for a couple of hours . You come  ,  visit , you create and take home your creation. You can work on your own projects and stay all day or work on the make it take it which will take about two hours to finish. The studio will be open to all, including kids . All projects will be kid friendly so they can make their own handmade gifts for mom, dad & teachers.

Does this sound like fun ?  Now it doesn’t mean you will be sewing each week , you might be painting, you might be making soap who knows all I know is I plan to think outside the box. This week I think embroidery is the plan of attack.  Every week I will post what we will be doing on our face book page and then you just have to call the studio and book your spot.

Oh exciting & we are so looking forward to this little event.

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner but they are which means the cold weather is just around the corner. I am thinking time to make my guys a warm quilt but time will tell now guess I should head into the studio .

Get your Quilts in soon if you want them done in time for the holidays.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts… Let the universe do it’s Job !

Your mind and thoughts are a funny thing.  Last year at this time I was in Houston enjoying the International quilt festival, this year enjoying posts of friends that are there .  Reflecting back when I came home yes I was going to finish my show quilt for this years show. Did it happen no but that’s okay when it’s ready it will be ready. And that’s where the thoughts come in … Am I good enough , talented enough, smart enough, brave enough our mind sometimes gets in our way of our actions.

For the last two weeks I have been struggling with my confidence in myself . Yes I have been in the studio working hard trying to get a couple of quilts finished and I have . But when I finished the quilts  worried that they where not good enough. Did I do my best job , yes was I happy with the finished results yes ! Big question will my clients be happy with my work.  Also think I am in panic mode as the queue is half empty and Christmas is just around the corner. Where’s the Christmas rush ? I have long arm friends turning away business and where’s our rush ?

To many thoughts in my head so this weekend when I should have been at a quilt retreat instead  curled up at the computer doing invoicing and paperwork for my husband. It needed to get done but it could have waited.  I would have felt guilty taking two days off to piece when I had quilts that needed to be finished for clients. Thing is I didn’t do them and I also didn’t recharge my spirit.

My thoughts got in my way.

Yesterday did some baking, made a pot of spaghetti sauce & did work in the studio trying to get into a better head space . Today looking at the quilt on the frame stressing out about it as the client wants something done that will not work with the quilt and I have to figure out how to make it work. Dreamt about it last night okay maybe it was a nightmare as I woke up came downstairs and made sure I had the top on correctly not the back facing me. Thought I would be taking out all the stitches.

Thinking I am stressing out a little regarding this quilt ! The thing is I know once I wrap my head around it things will work out.

Some times we are our own worst enemy’s !

Plan of attack to get these silly thoughts out of your head !

  • Step one-  Finish the quilt on the frame trust your instincts and just jump.
  • Step two- load a plain piece of fabric on the frame and do something to recharge your creative spirit.
  • Step three – stop doubting yourself let your work speak for it’s self.
  • Step Four – Let the universe do it’s job !!!!

Things might be slow for a reason –  giving one time to create something special on the custom quilts in the Queue or one of your own pieces !

So that’ s how I turn my thoughts around.  One needs to always look for a positive in every thing. The positive today is the universe is giving me time to play without stress . Or maybe it’s saying I need to slow down and breath a moment.  Ah who am I kidding I want ten Christmas quilts in the queue waiting to be done ! I want to make quilts for all my gifts this year and that show quilt is going to get done for Houston next year if it kills me. I work best in super sonic mode & stress when I have nothing to do.

On that note if you have quilts you needed quilted for Christmas get them in now cause I have now put this out into the universe and that means the queue will fill up (positive affirmation ) . November is just days away which mean’s you had better start thinking about Christmas.

Now to work I go , did my good deed for the day gave the  single gentlemen down the street a pan of baked spaghetti for their dinner . Our dinner is made and ready for the oven, dog walked. No more excuses head into the studio.

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Happy Halloween.

Charity quilt … it’s jouney !

Yesterday I finished a clients quilt and then loaded a charity quilt on to the frame. This quilt is going to be used for a fund raiser for cadets . The ladies that made this quilt spent an entire weekend piecing and making this quilt. The fabric was from their stash . Saying this the quilt still cost them over $250 dollars in fabric , they bought the fabric & batting at some point in time.  Then they brought it to my studio. The size of the quilt was 80 x 80 not so small just saying. If I was to charge for this they would have been looking at about $160. 00 dollars. Can you see where I am going … This charity quilt that they will be raffling off is worth $410 dollars and that’s not including their time !  The reality is if I was to sell it I would ask $750.00 and that means the makers where only getting paid about $5.00 an hour. If someone gives you a quilt they have spent tons of time and money on this gift !

So the quilt lands in our studio… it’s a charity quilt , it really gets done last or between a paying clients quilt. Okay this one had a deadline as it’s for a raffle so it needed to be squeezed in which meant I shall be working some longer hours for the next week or so to get back on track. It’s also a charity quilt so is it going to get over the top quilting chances are no… Saying that I just can’t bring myself to just do an all over design because that would have harmed this quilt. Is it going to get ditched ? No to much time , feathers it is , as they are fun and fast. Thread ? Okay normally I would have used white on white but I didn’t want to do thread changes. Again all about time white would have looked terrible on the colored sections. Picking the variegated thread that works with the colors was the best decision. It toned down the white. It also meant that ones stitching was going to be seen so keep it beautiful.

Loaded it on the frame at 10:45  in the morning and started the journey. Usually I only want to spend about four hours on a charity quilt this one was bigger . Rocked out all day, a couple of phone calls & the door bell ringing caused a couple of interruptions but that’s normal. 6:15 done ! Basically 7.5 hours was spent on this quilt.

Here’s the honest truth a lot of time , money and love went into this quilt here’s hoping the lucky winner understands this. The tickets are only $5 dollars and you can contact Sandra or Tracy if you want a ticket.

So hope you enjoy the day in the studio. You need a plan, jump and remember not to over complicate things. And at the end of the day we are not perfect but we do the best job we can at this time in our journey. Next year I might have quilted this differently but today I love what I did. Now back into the studio I go to load the next quilt . It’s a Halloween quilt and yes I am doing the happy dance as I will be using thread that glows in the dark.

Have a wonderful day.

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Log Cabin Quilt pieced by Sandra Andrews & Tracy Colosino

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And the journey begins

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What to do in the center ?

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Center I rather like the simple design.

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The feathers show movement.

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Feathers are fun.

 

Brazil …

Morning World, IMG_0672

Today while doing the dishes I was watching the traffic move slowly by my window. Calgary is having a freak snow storm these last two days we have had nothing but Snow. Really mother nature snow in September ! I love the changing colors of the leaves this time of year and right now the poor trees are splitting under the weight of the snow. The joys of living in Calgary !

On the plus side the snow gives me a chance to enjoy a coffee and maybe catch up on my Blog. Wow it’s been a crazy full couple of months ! We just got back from Brazil and what an eye opener . Was the trip all that we thought it was going to be ? No we had some disappointments such as the Christ in Rio was fogged in every time we went up to the mountain. So we saw it from our hotel roof top, did we get to the falls no another disappointment. Our credit cards didn’t work nor did our bank cards. We where told it was cheaper to book flights in the country and they where the same as home but didn’t matter because the funds became an issue. If we had known that we would have booked in Canada and planned our days better.  There where a couple of days I was in tears and wanted to come home .

Saying that there where more good than bad. The people of Brazil are so open and loving I fell head over heals in Love with our Hosts Grandmother , mom &  cousin. Nope we didn’t speak the same language but we did communicate. Heck I even learnt how to cook some really cool things and will enjoy cooking for friends and family in the future. On our first day we attended a wedding and party. It was a blast seeing how they celebrate such a big event. And yes I did bring a quilt for the Bride and Groom can’t crash a wedding without a good gift right ?  Funny thing is the Bride organizes one of the largest quilt show in the country. And looks like I maybe heading back to Brazil next year to teach at the show. Glad my visa is good for five years !   We had the chance to visit a local painter / artist at his families home loved that day. This was a gift as we where talking on the street and a gentleman asked us where were we from. He was from there but had lived in Miami for 16 years . He invited us to visit his home and said if his brother had a problem oh well. Yes I went into a complete strangers house ! The guys where looking at me so funny but heck I was with them we should be fine right… Okay Deb is way to trusting. The art in that home plus just the house it’s self  was a little piece of heaven tucked away from the crazy city .

It’s a poor country but rich in so many other ways. I don’t know what I was expecting and really had no expectations . What we did come home with was a better understanding of making due, living with family , supporting one another and appreciating the little things . Hot water to wash your hands or do dishes big in my world. Heck I started a fire in the shower. Let me tell you (visualize ) Deb in the shower , soap in hair all of the sudden pop… sounded like a gun went off . Turn shower off… finish washing body turn on shower smell smoke look up flames four inches high on the wires ! Here I am trying to blow it out like one does blowing candles out on a birthday cake.  Yeah waited two days for next shower at the hotel in Rio. Just saying didn’t think I wanted to set our hosts house on fire.

From a business side of things the women call quilting patchwork. Fabric cost about the same as it does here in Canada $12 to $15 dollars a meter. Saying that the average wage for a clerk at a quilt store starts at about $3 an hour and you work six days a week nine hours a day. So that meter of fabric is rather expensive ! Your sewing machines are all imported so a machine here in Canada that you might pay $1200 dollars is three times that, but more likely four times as expensive. So the women are not working with the best they are working with what they have or what they can afford. As for a long arm machine you are looking at $100,00 dollars and no that is not a typing error. That kind of money can buy land and a house so such machines are not really here. I went to am embroidery studio which if you didn’t know the owner you would never have found the shop. Her studio was a small brick building on the families property. She had two machines not sure really what they where but rigged to an old 436 computer (floppy drive) which was rigged up to take USB drives so that she could purchase designs. No fancy computer design programs really not sure how it all ran but it did. She does amazing work is it fast heck no. She has to change colors every color change. I couldn’t even imagine working that way but she makes her living and helps support the family on those machines.

They do have big fabric stores like  fabric land and lots of interesting fabrics. I did purchase four meters to bring back with me to Canada (would have bought more but again worried about our lack of funds) . I was able to point and purchase happy dance. The clerks where worried about communicating but us women when it comes to getting that special fabric we can get our point across. Another shop had real fancy fabrics for wedding dresses and the likes well that shop all the clerks where men ! And the fabric was behind glass , needless to say it stayed behind the glass as I was uncomfortable in this shop. You never really knew where a little quilt shop was as it could be tucked away and in some ones home. Are they like our stores nope more like a half a dozen  bolts of fabric some thread and a love for stitching. It’s a growing industry but most of the ladies that do patchwork use what they have , they don’t have a stash and access to those special items is done over the internet and mailed which costs them an arm and a leg. And if they can take a class they do ! We had a blast !

The quilts I gave as gifts I think will be well loved. I hope they are being used, although my host she scooped it up and it was hidden away cause she was afraid it would get recked. A quilt should be used it’s of no value hidden away in the closet. Let the kids make forts, let the dog sleep on it, that’s what it was made for to be used.

I hope to go back next August to work the big show but in the mean time have started making a couple of patterns that will then have translated to give away to the shops I had the pleasure of visiting .

Now guess I should get off this machine and head to the big machine so I can help support my family.

Stitching my worries away…